Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru FC announced their 22-member squad for the ongoing 2021 Durand Cup on Sunday.
The Bengaluru FC squad has an interesting mixture of youth and experience. Along with the first-team players, the Blue Colts have as many as 10 players from the BFC B team who are yet to make their senior team cut.
The squad also comprises of two U18 players in Louis Macarton Nickson and Lalthangliana. Bengaluru FC is grouped alongside Kerala Blasters, Indian Navy and Delhi FC in Group C.
This will be the 130th edition of the Durand Cup and Bengaluru FC's third appearance in the competition. Bengaluru made it to the semifinals once and lost to Salgaocar on penalties in their debut campaign in 2014. In 2019, Bengaluru FC finished second in their group.
Bengaluru FC head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli talks about the squad
Bengaluru FC boss Marco Pezzaiuoli termed the Durand Cup as good exposure for the youngsters. The manager also believes that youth players can use the tournament to stake a claim for a spot in the first team.
"We're looking at the Durand Cup as a fantastic chance for our young players to get exposure in competitive games, as the tournament has several good teams from the first and second divisions, as well as teams from the army," said head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli.
"Our young players are getting closer to the first team and maybe after this tournament, we could have more youngsters making a case for a spot in the starting eleven with the first team," added the Bengaluru FC coach.
Bengaluru FC will face Kerala Blasters in their first match of the 2021 Durand Cup
Bengaluru FC club will kickstart their 2021 Durand Cup campaign against Kerala Blasters on Wednesday in Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan.
Where will Bengaluru FC play their 2021 Durand Cup fixtures?
Durand Cup matches will be hosted at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Mohun Bagan Club Ground and Kalyani Stadium.
Bengaluru FC will be boosted by the presence of assistant coach and former interim manager Naushad Moosa, who competed as a player in as many as eleven Durand Cup campaigns. He reached the final with Mahindra & Mahindra in 2000 before lifting the trophy with Mahindra United two years later.
In fact, Moosa is expected to lead the Bengaluru FC coaching staff for the Durand Cup and will take charge of what is a young squad.
The Blues begin their campaign with a clash against Kerala Blasters on Wednesday at the VYBK.
Bengaluru FC full squad for 2021 Durand Cup
Goalkeepers: Lara Sharma, Sharon Padattil
Defenders: Parag Shrivas, Robin Yadav, Harpreet Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Ajith Kumar, Wungngayam Muirang, Naorem Roshan Singh
Midfielders: Thoi Singh, Bekey Oram, Damaitphang Lyngdoh, Ajay Chhetri, Biswa Darjee, Macarton Louis Nickson
Forwards: Bidyashagar Singh, Leon Augustine, Akashdeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Sivasakthi Narayanan, Namgyal Bhutia, Lalthangliana.
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